Over the last ten years in particular, Azerbaijan has purchased various weapons from Russia, Turkey and Israel. These three countries are the main suppliers of weapons to Azerbaijan.
However, in the arsenal of Azerbaijan there are also weapons produced by other countries. The Fact Investigation Platform has studied open sources to find out which countries have armed Azerbaijan and what weapons they have supplied to Baku.
On October 26, 2020, the European Union External Action Service released data on arms exports from EU member states, which for the first time provided detailed information on arms supplies from the EU to Azerbaijan. Although they are not complete, these data provide previously unknown information on EU-Azerbaijan military cooperation.
The published information covers the years 2013-2019 and is based on data provided by EU member states. In total, in seven years, EU member states have authorized 4.73 billion euros in arms exports to Azerbaijan. At least 7% of it, amounting to 339 million euros, was definitely exported to Azerbaijan. It is noteworthy that almost 90% of the 339 million euros worth of weapons were exported from two countries – Bulgaria and France, each of which supplied about 150 million euros worth of weapons to Azerbaijan.
According to the data available in the database, from 2013 to 2019 France exported weapons worth 148.3 million euros to Azerbaijan. The same index was published separately by France, according to which in 2010-2019 weapons worth 148.4 million euros were sold to Azerbaijan.
About 95% of it (140 million euros) was exported in 2015 alone. In the same years, France authorized the export of 3.35 billion euros worth of weapons to Azerbaijan.
However, neither the EU database nor the report of the French government contains detailed data on what weapons Azerbaijan received.
At the same time, there is information in open sources about various French weapons in the Azerbaijani armed forces. According to the Army Recognition website, for example, Azerbaijan has 19 MO-120-RT-61 French grenade launchers.
Meanwhile, according to the defense.az website, there are Sherpa 2 armored vehicles of the French “Renault” company in the arsenal of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces. In 2018, Azerbaijani sources reported that MICA and Aster 30 air defense missiles will be purchased from France.
Bulgaria is the leader in arms sales to Azerbaijan from EU member states. That country supplied 150.9 million euros worth of weapons to Azerbaijan in 2013-2019. Most of it, 94% (142 million euros), is ammunition (bullets, mines, rockets, etc.). Earlier, in 2002, according to SIPRI, Bulgaria sold 36 M-46 artillery pieces to Azerbaijan.
Other EU member states
Other EU member states have also sold arms to Azerbaijan, but significantly less than France and Bulgaria.
Spain exported about 19.5 million euros worth of weapons to Azerbaijan in the period of 2013-2019, the Czech Republic – 7․2 million, Romania – 5.3 million, Italy and Croatia – 2.6 million each.
The volume of weapons sold by each of the other countries to Azerbaijan in 2013-19 was less than 1 million euros. However, for some reason the EU database is not complete. Below are the countries that have reliable data on arms sales to Azerbaijan.
— Artsakh Defense Army (@Karabakh_MoD) October 21, 2020
The DANA installations used in Artsakh were manufactured in the Czech Republic and further processed in neighboring country Slovakia. Information on the export of Czech weapons to Azerbaijan was first published in 2017.
In 2018, Azerbaijan demonstrated Czech self-propelled grenades, followed by a denial from the Czech authorities, stating that they were not aware of the weapons supplied to Azerbaijan. Investigative journalists, however, managed to gain access to some of the documents that proved otherwise.
The weapons were transported via the Czech Republic-Israel-Azerbaijan route. By the way, these weapons were delivered to Baku by the “Ilyushin” airplanes of the Silk Way company.
These planes had been carrying out active cargo transportation since the days before the war, which started on September 27, 2020. Even now, in all probability, they are transporting weapons to Azerbaijan.
Fip.am articles on these topics:
- About 100 flights to Azerbaijan in a month․ Military assistance by air continues
- Cargo transportation between Belarus and Azerbaijan
- Military aircraft did fly over Georgia during the war
- Flights from Israel to Azerbaijan: fruits and vegetables or weapons and ammunition?
- Activity of the Turkish Air Force within Armenia and beyond its border
- Active movements of the air force between Azerbaijan and Turkey and on the Armenian-Turkish border
According to The Military Balance Yearbook (2019) published by the IISS Research Institute, the Azerbaijani Armed Forces have at least 9 Czech-made DANA self-propelled artillery units, and according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), Azerbaijan has 30 RM-70 Vampire multiple rocket launchers.
The United Kingdom, which left the European Union in the winter of this year, for the period 2013-2019 declared a permit to export weapons worth only 1.8 million euros. In fact, this country did not present real export data.
It should be noted that Great Britain joined the non-mandatory embargo imposed on Armenia and Azerbaijan by the OSCE in 1992, but in 2014, in fact, reconsidered the decision.
In October 2020, the UK Department of International Trade confirmed that arms had been supplied to both Armenia and Azerbaijan since 2010. In particular, arms worth about 86 million pounds were exported to Azerbaijan, and 4.2 million to Armenia.
The Paramount Group company operating in the Republic of South Africa (RSA) has been producing armored vehicles together with Azerbaijan since 2009. According to the information published in the SIPRI database, RSA sold a total of 145 armored vehicles to Azerbaijan, including 85 Marauder and 60 Matador.
They were delivered to Azerbaijan in 2009-2015. Most of these armored vehicles were assembled in Azerbaijan. By the way, according to the SIPRI database, the diesel engines of these armored vehicles were supplied from the USA from 2009 to 2014. On October 23, photos surfaced on the Internet showing “Matador” armored vehicles that exploded during the war in Artsakh and were taken to Baku.
— Rob Lee (@RALee85) October 23, 2020
Active military cooperation between Ukraine and Azerbaijan continued in the 21st century as well.
According to SIPRI, Ukraine sold the following weapons to Azerbaijan during the period 2002-2010:
- 45 T-72 tanks (2004-06)
- 168 armored personnel carrier ՝ 18 BTR-80 (2007) and 150 BTR-70 (2007-10)
- 2 BMP-1 and 3 BTR-3U infantry fighting vehicle (2005-06)
- 16 MIG-29 jet fighter (2006-11)
- 12 MIL MI-24 attack helicopter (2009-10)
- 12 L-39 military trainer aircraft
- 43 R-27 air-to-air missile (2007)
- 12 Smerch multiple rocket launcher (2004-05)
- 72 T-12 100mm anti-tank gun (2002)
- 54 2S1 Gvozdika self-propelled howitzer (2008-10)
- 16 2S3 Akatsia self-propelled gun (2009-10)
- 3 2S7 Pion self-propelled artillery (2008)
- 55 D-30 howitzer (2007)
- 85 M-43 mortar (2005-06)
- 18 Strela-3 air defense missile system (2008)
- 400 R-2 missile (2009-10) for Skif anti-tank guided missile and Mi-24 strike helicopters
In 2017, the State Border Guard Service of Azerbaijan purchased 50 RK-2S and RK-2OF anti-tank guided missiles from Ukraine.
According to SIPRI, Belarus, which is Armenia’s ally in the CSTO, was on the list of countries supplying significant weapons to Azerbaijan in 2009-2013.
Earlier, from 2002-2015, Azerbaijan purchased from Belarus 60 BTR-70 armored personnel carriers, 153 T-72 tanks, 120 D-30 howitzers, 12 2S7 Pion artillery, 11 Su-25 attack aircraft and 20 T-38 Stilet anti-aircraft missile systems. Moreover, from 2013 to 2015 Belarus supplied 18 units of Buk anti-aircraft missile systems to Azerbaijan.
In 2018, Belarus sold “Polonez” multiple rocket launchers to Azerbaijan, which were shown for the first time in June 2018. According to the information published in the SIPRI database, from 2018-2019 Belarus supplied Azerbaijan with 10 “Polonez” complexes.
In 2017, Pakistan signed a contract with Azerbaijan for the purchase of 10 PAC MFI-17 Mushshak training aircraft. These planes were delivered to Azerbaijan in 2018. These planes were supplied to Azerbaijan in 2018. Earlier, the Azerbaijani authorities announced an agreement on arms import with Pakistan. From 2019-2020, Pakistan began to actively produce JF-17 combat aircraft, while Azerbaijan has repeatedly stated its desire to acquire it.
Some other countries have also sold small quantities of weapons to Azerbaijan. In particular, according to SIPRI, Georgia in 2002 sold 6 Su-25 attack aircraft to Azerbaijan. According to razm.info website, in 2002-2015 Azerbaijan bought 28 Su-25 aircraft from Georgia.
When it came to the alleged supply of weapons from Serbia to Armenia during the Tavush battles in July 2020, Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić stated that in recent years Serbia had sold ten times more weapons to Azerbaijan than to Armenia. In conclusion, it should be noted that although Azerbaijan’s arsenal is mainly supplied with Russian, Turkish and Israeli weapons, that country has bought a rather significant amount of weapons from other countries as well.
Ukraine and Belarus sold a large number of both Soviet and locally produced weapons to Azerbaijan.
Despite the non-binding arms embargo imposed by the OSCE, several European countries are also not reluctant to arm Azerbaijan, particularly the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, France, Great Britain and Serbia.